University of Southern California

Poppa, This Is Where I'm Going
November 11, 2011 • by Bob Shotwell

One day in 1943, I was strolling around the USC campus, completing my senior year. A bus of U.S. Army induction officers rolled up, and by nightfall I was in San Pedro, ready to start basic training the next day. I ended up serving four years in the Army Corps of Engineers. I had met my future wife Barbara at 'SC and she served alongside me at March Air Force Base as an air traffic controller. When I got out of the Army, I got a job in marketing and my career took off. So I never actually graduated.

Almost 60 years later, my daughter said to me, "Dad, why don't you pursue getting your USC degree? You paid for your coursework during senior year, you've been Marketing Director of a Fortune 500 company, you completed all but a few weeks of class, and you served our country during wartime. I think you have extenuating circumstances that may allow you to work with them to qualify." It took a bit of persistence, but my family encouraged me because they felt it would inspire others to complete what they start.

So on May 13, 2005, I proudly marched with the Marshall School of Business graduating students and received my diploma - at 84 years of age! My granddaughter Julia, who was in high school at the time, attended that commencement. When she visited my home, she wrote on a blackboard in the kitchen: "Poppa 2005. Julia 2009." My graduation date from USC juxtaposed against her graduation date from USC. She said to me: "Poppa, this is where I'm going."

And she did. She graduated in 2009 and she's off to a successful career in business. With Marshall behind you, how can you go wrong?

Fight On!
Bob Shotwell, B.S. '05

P.S. My grandfather came back to Marshall this past January and hung around campus for almost a month. He took classes, heard lectures, and saw the amazing opportunities offered to the students. He called me up and asked, "Julia, did you really do all this stuff?" I said, "Yes." And he said, "That's so cool." Poppa is very concerned with America keeping our edge, growing students who will be leaders. Marshall is fertile ground for that. I hope you support the school that turns out the leaders of tomorrow – like my grandfather!

Julia Metcalfe, B.S. '09